Original Research

Management of the Biconcave (B2) Glenoid in Shoulder Arthroplasty: Technical Considerations

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Reconstruction of the biconcave (B2) glenoid presents a challenging clinical problem that has been associated with poor clinical outcomes and implant survivorship. The high failure rate from glenoid component loosening and subsequent premature implant failure can be substantially decreased with accurate glenoid component positioning and appropriate correction of the pathologic glenoid retroversion. Careful preoperative planning is essential for accurate preparation and execution of the optimal surgical plan. There are many surgical strategies to address the B2 glenoid, but no consensus on the optimal method exists, as the technique should be uniquely customized to the individual’s pathology and surgeon preference. Cases with mild deformity may be corrected with eccentric reaming and total shoulder arthroplasty, while the more severe deformities may require posterior glenoid bone grafting, and/or augmented implants to restore native version. Finally, the reverse shoulder arthroplasty is a reliable option to restore stability and address bone deficiency for the severe B2 glenoid in an older, lower demand patient.



Total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) has demonstrated excellent long-term clinical outcomes for the treatment of advanced glenohumeral osteoarthritis (OA).1-5 Glenohumeral OA is characterized by a broad spectrum of glenoid pathology. Both the morphology of the glenoid and humeral head subluxation are important preoperative factors to evaluate, as these have been shown to adversely impact shoulder arthroplasty outcomes.6,7

Walch and colleagues8 have previously classified glenoid morphology in cases of advanced glenohumeral arthritis based on the preoperative computed tomography (CT) scans of individuals undergoing shoulder arthroplasty (Figures 1A-1E). The biconcave (B2) glenoid is characterized by asymmetric posterior bone loss and a posterior translated humeral head that is seated in a biconcave glenoid. The degree and extent of bone loss in the B2 glenoid can be highly variable, ranging from the classic interpretation, in which 50% of the native glenoid fossa is preserved, to the more extreme case with little remaining native anterior glenoid. Scalise and colleagues9 have reported that determining the premorbid native glenoid version with a 3-dimensional (3D) glenoid vault model can aid in differentiating a pathologic B2 glenoid from a nonpathologic type C glenoid.

The B2 glenoid in particular has been associated with poor shoulder arthroplasty outcomes and component survivorship.6,10-12 There are many factors that are thought to contribute to this problem, such as glenoid component malposition, or undercorrection of the pathologic retroversion.6,13,14 Walch and colleagues10 reported that if the neoglenoid retroversion was greater than 27°, there was a 44% incidence of loosening and/or instability and 60% of the dislocations were observed when the humeral head subluxation was greater than 80%. Cases with severe posterior glenoid bone deficiency present a unique challenge to the surgeon, and the ability to accurately and securely place an implant in the correct anatomic position can be compromised. Standard TSA has proven excellent outcomes in the setting of typical glenohumeral OA, but in the B2 glenoid with significant posterior bone erosion, additional attention must be given to ensure adequate correction of the bony deformity, soft tissue balancing, and implant stability.

Several strategies that have been proposed to address extreme bone loss in the B2 glenoid will be discussed in this review. These include hemiarthroplasty, TSA with asymmetric reaming of the high side, TSA with bone grafting of the posterior glenoid bone loss, TSA with an augmented glenoid component, and reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA). Importantly, while these techniques have been proposed for managing the B2 glenoid, currently there is no gold standard consensus for the treatment of this condition. The purpose of this review is to highlight important characteristics of the B2 glenoid morphology on clinical outcomes and discuss the current surgical management options for this condition.

Preoperative Planning

Being able to accurately determine the amount of retroversion is critical for preoperative planning. Friedman and colleagues15 initially described a method to measure glenoid retroversion; however, this is less accurate in B2 glenoids (Figures 2A, 2B). More recently, Rouleau and colleagues16 have validated and published methods to measure glenoid retroversion and subluxation in the B2 glenoid using 3 reference lines: the paleoglenoid (native glenoid surface), intermediate glenoid (line from anterior and posterior edge), and neoglenoid (eroded posterior surface) (Figure 2).

Preoperative evaluation starts with plain radiographs; however, additional imaging is needed, as the axillary view has shown to overestimate retroversion in 86% of patients (Figures 3A-3E).17 For a detailed evaluation of the glenoid retroversion and bone deficiency, CT scans with 3D reconstructions are useful.18,19 The surgical plan should be guided by the location and extent of glenoid bone loss. One tool that has been developed to help in predicting premorbid glenoid version, inclination, and position of the joint line is the 3D virtual glenoid vault model.9,20,21 This helps determine accurate premorbid glenoid anatomy and has been shown to assist in the selection of the optimal implant in an attempt to restore native glenoid anatomy, and avoid peg perforation.21 Patient-specific instrumentation (PSI) for shoulder arthroplasty is being used more frequently and has shown promise for more accurate glenoid component placement, particularly in the complex glenoid with severe bone deficiency. PSI involves creating a custom-fitted guide that is referenced to surface anatomy derived from the preoperative CT scan, which can then direct the surgeon toward optimal implant position with regard to glenoid component location, version and inclination (Figures 4A, 4B). Early reports show that PSI has resulted in a significant reduction in the frequency of malpositioned glenoid implants, with the greatest benefit observed in patients with retroversion in excess of 16°.22

Surgical Management


Shoulder hemiarthroplasty has been traditionally described as an option for younger, more active patients in whom longevity of the glenoid component is a concern, or in patients with inadequate glenoid bone stock to tolerate a glenoid component. While there are no reports of hemiarthroplasty specifically for patients with B2 glenoids, one study has examined the effect of glenoid morphology on the outcomes of hemiarthroplasty for shoulder osteoarthritis. Levine and colleagues7 reported inferior clinical outcomes after shoulder hemiarthroplasty in patients with eccentric posterior glenoid wear. Several authors have advocated a “ream-and-run” technique to create a concentric glenoid and re-center the humeral head while still maintaining the native glenoid.23,24 However, in a recent series of 162 ream-and-run procedures, Gilmer and colleagues25 reported that only 23% of patients with B2 glenoid geometry achieved a minimal clinically important change in patient-reported outcome scores and 14% required revision. Furthermore, Lynch and colleagues26 found that progressive medial erosion and recurrent posterior glenoid erosion occur in a significant percentage of patients at early follow-up. Given these recent findings, the use of hemiarthroplasty alone or a ream-and-run procedure for patients with B2 glenoid morphology should be approached with caution.

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